Geek life and custom content for Savage Worlds
Hey hey Scavver’s Bay! Taggart here, bringin’ you all the news worth spoutin’ about.
Those of you who get out into the Gulf might be feelin’ a bit safer this week, after the raider ship known as Henson’s Revenge was captured by a group of mercs from here in the Bay. The ship was brought in and repaired before bein’ sailed back out into the gulf by her new captain, Johanna Chen, one of them mercs. Short Stack Stevens, former captain of the Revenge, has been reported as dead, along with all hands of the ship. Good riddance to a pack of raider scum. A fair few slaves were rescued from the raider camp where the ship was under repairs when the mercs found her, so if ya’ll were missing any friends or family to Gulfer raids, now might be a real good time for ya if they managed to make their way back.
Sheriff Hackwell reports that he’s lookin’ into the death of Cole Bowden, after the scavver lieutenant – an employee of Tilmont Salvage – was found dead, nailed to the outside of his home last night. All indications are pointin’ to an act of revenge by the ghouls of Charnel House for the damn grisly display that Bowden put on a few weeks ago, when he drove back into town with a live pack of ferals hangin’, shriekin’ and dyin’, off the side of his truck. Apparently they had surprised him and his team on a run and he decided it’d be a bit of fun to torture the things. While Sheriff Hackwell put a stop to it quick enough, quite a number of people in town saw, and in this reporter’s opinion it was a real fuckin’ mess. Several of the Bay’s ghoul residents called for some kind of retribution. The sheriff did fine him for disturbin’ the peace, but apparently somebody thought that weren’t enough of a punishment, as last night four masked people broke into his house, dragged him into the street, an’ nailed him to his house just like he did to them ferals. What a fuckin’ mess. Bowden is survived by his wife Nat and two boys, Tom and Mark.
In some lighter news, I got a report here that a small herd of wild horses was spotted in the Aggie’s Gate area by a Tres Viajeros caravan passin’ through. Widely considered to be extinct, this is one of several reports I’ve heard over the last few years about – oh, hold on. Joe, you can’t come in here! I’m on the damn radio! Fuck off! No, it’s locked, you assho – sorry folks. Hang on a minute.
Alright, we’re back! Sorry ’bout that, folks. Had a bit of an unexpected visitor. That was Dirty Joe, rantin’ and ravin’ about some damn fool thing. Smelled like the inside of a still. Said he was seein’ lights in the sky when he was out lookin’ for mushrooms out east of town. Bet that idjit was eatin’ whatever mushrooms he found, no wonder he’s seein’ shit and talkin’ ’bout little green men come to probe him and whatnot. That’s crazier than when he said he saw a giant stinkin’ monkey-man followin’ him out in the Piney Woods last year.
Uhhh… if you don’t feel safe from green men in the sky, you oughta stop by Diego’s! He’s got all the guns you might need to defend the world from intergalactic invaders or whatever shit you see when you drink booze made from mushrooms. Tell him Taggart sent you so he keeps payin’ me!
Doc Mercedes is askin’ for any donations you might be able to spare for the Follower’s clinic an’ school. Them Followers of the Apocalypse do a lot for our community, teachin’ the younguns and makin’ sure we don’t all die of some terrible disease. Anythin’ you can do helps. Donations are accepted at the school any time – caps, medical supplies, even just your time. It all makes a difference.
Few stories from the Republic News Network ‘fore we get back to the music.
Says here that a small farmin’ community out west of San Alamo was hit by the Children of the Serpent last week. A few guards and such were killed, but most of ’em were dragged off by the Children, who reportedly take their captives back to feed some great serpent they worship. Fuckin’ raiders, man.
The gridiron game between the Big Rocket Longhorns and the Scavver’s Bay Buccaneers was won by our local Bucks nine to six last night at Legion Field in Big Rocket. Congratulations to our boys in black, particularly game MVP Big Boy Blake, who scored four goals and three incapacitations through the game, including one crippling injury on Longhorns player Screamin’ Joe Sizemore, who will apparently be out for at least a month. If you’re wantin’ to congratulate the team, they should be arrivin’ back in town with the Crimson Sands caravan early next week.
Word is that a few people have reported roamin’ eyebots in the Scar, blarin’ out some kind of message related to somethin’ called the United States Space Administration. Not real sure what that’s about, but apparently it’s related to some pre-War government thing.
Alright, that’s about enough talkin’ for now. Little bit later I’m gonna be doin’ an interview with pre-War ghoul and former resident of the Goose Creek Poseidon Energy Station, George Gonzalez, who’ll be sharin’ his thoughts on what a shithole life is now compared to his pre-War days, but how much better it is than bein’ locked in a power plant with a pack of feral ghouls for two hundred years.
Hope ya’ll are havin’ a great day, be good to each other, and fight that good fight. Back to the music.
“Hey hey Scavver’s Bay! Taggart here with all the news I feel like sharin’.
Hope y’all noticed that the lights are glowing brighter and my signal’s coming in nice and strong. That’s thanks to the good folks over at Gunderson’s Greatest Gears, where our friend TJ reminds us that if it ain’t Triple-G it ain’t shit! Accordin’ to my sources, mostly me having a beer with TJ down at the Rusty Cog, a new group of up-and-comers in town were sent out to the fusion power plant out by Goose Creek to see if they could get it up and runnin’ again. Some Triple-G scavvers had found a Poseidon Energy protectron that had the codes for the place in it, and this here band of mercs escorted that robot out there and got the whole place up and workin’. From the sound of things they had a hell of a time of it – got in a tussle with a bunch of raiders that had set up shop, then ran into a whole mess of laser turrets and ferals down in inside the place. They managed to fight their way through and get the whole place runnin’ again, and all that without blowin’ the whole thing and all of us into a smoking crater of nuclear death. For which we’re obliged. From what TJ tells me they managed to boost power here in Scavver’s Bay nearly 40%, meanin’ we’re going to have a lot fewer power failures throughout the Bay area. So if you see them mercs, buy ’em a beer. Seems like they’ve earned it.
In related news, Gwen, daughter of the town doc Mercedes is back in town. Turns out she ain’t run off to join a caravan to San Alamo after all – she was off bein’ a raider. Doc asked these mercs to bring her back if they could, and damned if they didn’t manage it. Gwen, if you’re listenin’, I’d like to extend you an offer – love to sit down a bit and talk to you ’bout your time as a no-good thieving sack of crap. Is it true once you go raider you never go back? Do we, as honest citizens of the Republic, have any reason to trust a vicious, mildly-repentant murderer in our midst? Can you ever really be trusted again? Hopefully we can sit down and talk about it!
In a sad bit of local news, looks like Blake & Sons lost a scavvin’ team to the Green Ghost last week. They were in the Scar near the Sugar Land area doin’ a routine sweep-and-snag in what shoulda been a pretty quiet residential neighborhood. They’d bedded down for the night when one of ’em – the only survivor – took a bit of a walk ‘fore he laid down. Tommy reports, in between all the cryin’, that when he got back the Green Ghost was in the middle of the camp, tearin’ its way into a small house most of ’em had holed up in. That big ol’ deathclaw apparently reached into the front door of the house, just ripped the wall down and rushed in, clawin’ and tearin’ everywhere. A few of ’em managed to get some shots off, but it didn’t do anything to the big beast but piss it off. Tommy told me he unloaded both barrels of his shotgun into the thing’s flank, then turned and just started runnin’ when it just seemed to shrug it off. The last he heard from the rest of the team was the screamin’. He made his way back to the Bay over the course of the next week, just got back last night. Ma Blake has dropped a pile of caps into the already-sizable bounty on the head of the Green Ghost, bringin’ the total up to 6,000 caps for the confirmed death of the beast. It’s recognized by its massive size, green glow, broken left horn, an’ the fact that it is an unholy abomination causin’ nothing but death and destruction throughout the Scar. If you think you can handle a massive glowin’ alpha deathclaw that’s killed four known scavver teams and some of the best hunters in the Bay, go have a word with Ma Blake down at Blake & Sons. Best advised to make your final peace ‘fore you head that way, though.
Now a quick word from our sponsors.
Your old gun got you down? Can’t handle the threats of the Scar? Don’t feel like a real man? You need to stop by Diego’s! Best guns in Scavver’s Bay, guaranteed. His face may be rotten but his prices are always fresh!
Isabella over at the Rusty Cog would like everyone to know that they got in a new batch of moonshine from Dirty Joe, and she’s real sorry about that last batch. Anybody sufferin’ from temporary hootch-related blindness is drinkin’ on Dirty Joe’s tab this week.
Turnin’ now to the Republic News Network… looks like Road Hogs raided a Big 10 Trader’s caravan on its way from San Alamo to Big Rocket. Six dead this time, though they did manage to scare ’em off before they took out more than one vehicle, which was left behind as the rest of the caravan rabbited. Word is the caravan was led by the Chrome Banshee herself, screamin’ and singin’ over the radio at the caravan as they attacked. The Chrome Banshee is understood by the Rangers to be one of the major lieutenants of the Road Hogs, reportin’ only to the King of the Road himself.
The local sheriff up in Quarry Lake is interested in any and all information pertainin’ to a female ghoul, name unknown, who let a sizable pack of ferals in past the defenses of a local scavver baron, and is believed to be responsible for the deaths of ten people. More information on this story as it comes available.
Junker’s Attic reminds you that if you need to buy or sell anythin’ – and we do mean anythin’ – they’re the place to go. Scrap, guns, ammo, armor, or bots, Junker’s Attic has a bit of everythin’. Mention this ad an’ get a free clip or energy cell with a purchase of a hundred caps or more.
And finally, don’t forget Gunderson’s Greatest Gears, where if it ain’t Triple-G it ain’t shit!
Quick station note – I’m always happy to get any new music from any scavvers who find it. I pay good caps for any new music I ain’t already got. You find somethin’, you let me know.
This is Taggart, signin’ off for now. Ya’ll be good to each other, and don’t forget to fight that good fight. Back to the music.
I’m well into the processing of getting ready for my next game, a Savage Worlds conversion of Fallout set in Texas. I’ll be posting a more detailed conversion later, once I’ve got it laid out in a more pretty fashion, but for now here’s a sample or two of some iconic Fallout creatures, as well as one of my own.
The most common mirelurk is a large arthropod with a thick, dome-like shell and a pair of vicious pincers. It spends most of its time in the water or buried in the mud; while dug in it tends to look like a large rock protruding from the ground. When roused, it bursts forth from the ground and charges at any threats or prey it sees, letting loose a clattering shriek to alert others nearby.
Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d4 (A), Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d6, Stealth d4
Charisma: 0; Pace: 5; Parry: 5; Rad Resist: –; Toughness: 12 (6)
Rattlers are large, two-headed rattlesnakes native to the central and western wastes. They are over twenty feet long, and when threatened they coil up, their two heads weaving to find a good position to strike while their tail rattle hisses a final warning. They are large enough to hunt humans, but tend to prefer easier prey like molerats and radstags unless food has been scarce. They are prized for their poison, fangs, and leather, which are marks of honor among tribals and some raider gangs.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4 (A), Spirit d8, Strength d10, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidate d8, Notice d8
Charisma: 0; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Rad Resist: 6; Toughness: 10 (2)
Deathclaw (Wild Card)
This terror of the wasteland is a deadly beast, capable of tearing apart even power armor soldiers with its armor-piercing claws. It was created as a shocktrooper by the pre-War US government, but has since spread across the wasteland as a deadly apex predator. It’s roughly humanoid, with scaled skin and a horned head. A long tail extends behind it as it walks with a hunched posture, though it can also move comfortably on all fours. In combat, it mostly tears into its prey with its claws, though it’s more than clever enough to surprise with its tactical cunning.
Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d8 (A), Spirit d10, Strength d12+4, Vigor d12+2
Skills: Athletics d8, Fighting d10, Intimidation d8, Notice d6
Charisma: 0; Pace: 8; Parry: 7; Rad Resist: –; Toughness: 16 (4)
So I’ve been running my Savage Iron Kingdoms game for several years now. I think the end is now in sight – I’ve given them a bunch of clues about the final battle’s locations, and they’re starting to gather allies for the big finish. Should be a good time.
I’ve not been using this blog for some time, but I do want to have this content available, so I’m posting my Savage Iron Kingdoms material that I’ve been using.
Quite a few things have changed since my last post on this blog. A few of note…
1. I moved from Kansas to Alaska. Big change. New people, new home, new job, etc. I like it quite a bit – we’ve been here about a year now. This did mean I’ve had to give up my gaming group of… what, twelve years? Thirteen? I started gaming with them in college in about 2000, and moved in July of 2013. That’s a long, long time, and I miss them. Still, I like gaming, so that led to…
2. I’ve been running Pathfinder Society games for about eight months now in Anchorage. It’s pretty enjoyable – we’ve got a solid core group of players, maybe about eight or so people we see in and out regularly, and several more that come and go. It’s an interesting way to game, and I find that I rather like the way things are more or less reset after every session to a known state. I’ve found that I’m more satisfied with it as a gaming outlet than I expected to be.
3. I started writing for a Pathfinder 3rd Party Publisher called Flying Pincushion. I don’t have a lot of stuff out yet (an archetype in Into the Breach: Witches is all that’s out so far) but I’ve got stuff in the upcoming Alchemist book as well, and am working on things in a few other products. I’m a fan of the way the writing process works there – we use a Google Drive to collaborate, commenting on other people’s work and receiving feedback from the whole community on our own. I think it strengthens the output quite a bit.
4. I ran a two or three month Savage Worlds Dark Sun game that, unfortunately, didn’t work out. Kids are rough on games, especially 1.5 year old kids. We were gaming at the home of the parents, and I found that we didn’t regularly get started until 9 or 9:30, which makes it tough to get much gaming in.
I’m starting to consider my next attempt at a long-form campaign, now that we’ve got two or three other people stepping up to GM Pathfinder Society games in town. I’m thinking I’ll invite some of my favorite players that I’ve met to a Savage Worlds game. Right now I’m thinking about an Iron Kingdoms conversion to the Savage Worlds rules – I’ll likely be posting some of that here as I develop it.
I didn’t make it into the RPG Superstar Top 32. Always next year.
Congratulations to those that did!
Paizo will be announcing the Top 32 (the first cut) from their annual RPG Superstar contest today. I have an entry that I thought was pretty good, so I’m waiting with some nerves jangling. A new Wayfinder should come out soon with my second article in it, so I feel like I’m starting to dip my toes into the freelancing thing – getting chosen for RPG Superstar would help that quite a bit, I think. Here’s to hoping!
The Extra Life fundraiser was last weekend, and I participated through a local group called Table Talk Games. Had a pretty decent time, though I didn’t end up playing as many new games as I expected to while we were there. I played…
I also ran a Pathfinder one-shot that took several hours. Had a decent time with it – I think the pre-generated characters I put together can work pretty well for a variety of games, depending on what kind of stuff I want to throw against the PCs – in this case, the big bad was a goblin alchemist who was transforming creatures into monsters. I can see running a variety of games based on the same premise and setting.
I tried to do some of the things that I’d have liked to see in other one-shots I’ve played in.
For one thing, I kept the character sheets simple. Pathfinder is a complicated game, but I tried to keep things relatively easy. I was helped with this by a friend who does the organization for our Wednesday game, and also does character sheets for the game she runs with her kids. She’s got a simplified Pathfinder sheet that looks a lot less intimidating than the more complicated ones that we grown-ups use.
Second thing I did was give everyone a name card. I didn’t give the pregens names, just a description. The name card had that description – say, “Half Orc Ranger”, and then a blank for the PC’s name and the player’s name. This makes it easier for everybody at the table.
Third thing was an index-card sized synopsis of the character and their background, along with a complexity rating. It included:
Here’s a link to all the material I prepared for the one-shot.
Anybody else have any thoughts about how to run one-shots at conventions or game days? What do you try and do to make things easier for your players? For yourself?
Went to KantCon this Saturday with my girlfriend and a gamer friend of ours, and thought I’d mention how it went.
I made the mistake of not preregistering for anything, since I didn’t think we’d be able to make it. My mistake – I didn’t realize Vernie would have time to go, so I hadn’t really made much in the way of plans for it. I hopped on ConPlanner and signed up for some events the night before. I thought the site was just a pain in the rear to use, but it turns out it was supposed to be down, and I had accidentally figured out a back door into the beta software (oops). So the events that we had signed up for online (a pair of Savage Worlds games – one a pulp Africa game set in the 1920s, and the other a Scooby Doo Cthulhu game set on a ghost ship) were both full when we got there.
The staff at KantCon was very helpful about finding us another game, and the three of us signed up for two games on Saturday – a zombie horror game set during the Civil War using the AEther system, and a fantasy dungeon crawl using the Ingenium system.
I was not impressed with the AEther system (I disliked it enough that I’m not going to look for the ae symbol) or that game of it. For one thing, there were no pregenerated characters for a con game in which we played a unit of Union soldiers. We had to make characters for a game that only one of the other players had ever played, and even that was just once earlier in the day. Pregens for such a group would be EASY – the different roles are right there, just slap together a half-dozen or so pregens and you’re good to go. The game started with each of us rolling percentiles to see if our characters were ambidextrous or had an eidetic memory – that should have been a sign right there.
The system itself didn’t impress me that much – it’s a percentile-based, roll-high system, where you add effectively your stat modifier and skill for everything you do. Percentile math is unnecessary, in my opinion. The detail of random numbers ranging from 1 to 100 just doesn’t add anything, and the way the game worked the actual skill didn’t mean much – you got a much higher modifier from the basic stat used.
Additionally, it was frustratingly lethal for a convention game. The first enemy contact we had incapacitated one of our squadmates, and she was effectively useless for the rest of game – she could just limp along for the rest of the session, rolling everything at a huge penalty. I can see the appeal of lethality for a con game, but it should be FUN about it, not just “there was a trap in what you were obviously supposed to investigate, now you’re out of the session”. The system uses d10s for all damage, and the average character has 3-5 hit points. I wasn’t told that negative hit points wasn’t unconscious, so I said I was out at one point when apparently I was just at -10% to everything and wounded – apparently the system doesn’t have a “knocked out but alive” rule unless you spend a luck point to survive something that should have killed you.
The other players in the game were okay. We had a young girl who had fun playing a soldier and laughed at my bad Kentucky accent and profanity, a guy who did a good job but wasn’t super memorable, and a guy who whispered a lot and wanted to be off by himself doing the sneaky thing. We decided early on that Stealthy Guy was going to be the lieutenant (since had had actually played the system before) and it was kind of funny to realize that our lieutenant abandoned us almost immediately to sneak off and investigate this creepy house by himself. He was either eaten by zombies or burned down when I made a moonshine Molotov cocktail and burned the place to the ground, but either way he didn’t make it.
After that game, we went off to get ice cream at a place Jarrod knew about in Overland Park (Glace Artisan Ice Cream, it was tasty). We had a nice cathartic bitch session about the previous game, and then headed back to try our luck again.
Ingenium was, on the whole, a much better experience. The system was dead simple – roll a d10, add your stat modifier plus maybe a +1 from a talent, and that’s your roll. Exploding die on the d10, so you could get pretty high totals. We had a good selection of pregens (though oddly no spellcaster, and the GM said that somebody had taken the rogue-type pregen home, so we just had warrior-types and social-types). I played an agility-focused catfolk warrior, Vernie played a gargoyle warrior who was more toughness-based, and Jarrod played a human merchant with social skills. We had two other players who were new to gaming, and they did a good job (another catfolk warrior and a human bard, as I recall). The table was a 50-50 split on gender, too, which was unusual for a con game. I actually noticed that there were more women than I expected to see at the gaming convention; it was rare for a table to not have at least two women.
The plot was pretty simple – there’s a new cult in town and people are disappearing. We went off into the woods toward their lair, ambushed some cultists, and stole their gear. The first combat was amazingly quick – the game gives you multiple actions each turn, so we dropped three people in just a moment.
The rest of the dungeon crawly portion was pretty slow. That encounter with the cultists was the only thing that happened for a while – we walked through an abandoned dungeon for most of the session. There was a puzzle that would have been vastly improved by a handout. If there’s a riddle that hinges on a visual cue, LET US SEE IT. At least DRAW the darned thing so we know what’s going on, and give us a copy of the little poem so we can figure it out without you having to read it over and over. We actually just went around it because none of us could figure out what was supposed to be going on, but as soon as we got a visual, it was obvious. (The puzzle lowered a bridge to cross a chasm, we eventually just called for cultists from the next room and the social guy got them to lower it, since he was disguised as a cultist).
In the end, we got to the cult’s central chamber where they were trying to summon DemonBadGod. There were apparently over a hundred cultists, along with a pair of priests and some monster-thing tied to an altar. We didn’t see any indication of what to do at this point, which was kind of frustrating. I didn’t know the system well enough to know if were were supposed to just slaughter the cultists or if that would be suicide. Turns out that’s what we were supposed to do, essentially, so we spent some time figuring that out that was mostly just wasted. When we eventually just said “Screw it!” and attacked the cult leaders with ranged weapons, the cultists… didn’t do anything. I found that odd – the fight was just with the two cult leaders, the high priest and the guy with the sacrificial knife. Both were pretty much pushovers – none of our PCs even got hurt appreciably the entire game except me, and that was because I was screwing around with a trapped pedestal to figure out the puzzle earlier.
Still, the game was much more fun than the Civil War zombie game. Vernie liked the system for fantasy games much better than Pathfinder. I thought it was okay, but nothing special – all our characters seemed a little too similar for my tastes, but that might have been a lack of variety in the pregens. I picked up the core Ingenium PDF yesterday, since it was cheap. I’ll look it over sometime.